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Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing From 1970 to Now

British Museum touring exhibition ‘Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing From 1970 to Now’ 

29 February 2020 - 5 September 2020 

A British Museum touring exhibition illustrating how artists experiment with the power of paper to express their ideas. The exhibition highlights the breadth and quality of the British Museum’s collection of modern art, as well as its global scope. 

Amongst the oldest forms of human creativity, drawing is experiencing a resurgence in popularity as artists increasingly choose the medium to examine the modern world, with topics ranging from explorations of gender and political activism to questions of belonging and human sexuality. 

The exhibition of 56 works showcased the astonishing diversity of contemporary drawing over the last fifty years, with graphic work by artists such as David Hockney, Rachel Whiteread, Sol LeWitt, Anish Kapoor, Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry, as well as exciting works by emerging artists like Hamid Sulaiman and Rachel Duckhouse. 

For the first time, the British Museum co-curated this exhibition with partner museums from around the UK. In a new way of working, curatorial staff from partner museums collaborated with the British Museum to decide on themes within the exhibition and to research and select the works on display, as well as contributing chapters to the accompanying catalogue. Curators from the partner museums involved in the project included Alix Collingwood-Swinburn, Curator of Western Art at Durham University. 

Art Community display: Durham Sixth Form Centre and Creative Age

Building on the theme of collaboration we worked with students at Durham Sixth Form Centre (DSFC) and our Creative Age group to create works that were displayed as part of the exhibition. 

Creative Age at the Oriental Museum is a weekly art group for people living with dementia or long-term health challenges and their carers. The group was established in July 2019 with funding from art charity Equal Arts. The group have explored faces and portraits in the Oriental Museum collection and investigated paper cutting and folding techniques, creating the artworks on display. 

Get involved online 

Get up close to the artworks with our online resource, and explore artworks created by Durham Sixth Form Centre art students in response. 

Get creative with online resources. 

This exhibition is generously supported by the Bridget Riley Art Foundation. 

Artworks created by Durham Sixth Form Centre art students in response to the Pushing Paper Exhibition